With no response yet to the future of the migration issue, but their gazes firmly fixed on personal and familiar priorities, undocumented immigrants are once again on guard. On top of that, they are feeding and keeping U.S. society alive, in the face of the eventuality of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, spreading.
Essentially, while the Senate legal advisor seems to be toying with her decision, keeping hundreds of thousands of families on edge with a verdict that has already gone against them twice—as if it were an exercise of power with impunity in the style of Ancient Rome and reduced to a thumb down—those millions of undocumented people are already aware of what they have to do to, once again, along with others: save a populace that still doesn’t look at them as one of their own.
Whether it’s the farm worker in California, Florida, or Georgia, or nursing staff in a hospital—among whose ranks are Dreamers and people with TPS—or the employees of a convenience store; or the food delivery driver who can’t hope for more at the moment for lack of documents, they will continue fighting against all odds in the terrible context of this pandemic, which seems interminable.
Those who have gotten sick due to their uninterrupted labor—and even died for this reason—have been part of the new U.S. social fabric and, as much as anti-immigrant groups want to render them invisible, their indispensable presence is already undeniable, their work force unwavering, and their voice more and more determinant.
And despite the fact that their expectations of obtaining the immigration benefit they were promised are, at this moment, honestly low, that’s not an excuse to not continue giving everything they have at the time the U.S. most needs it from them, especially when more than half of its population has decided to not vaccinate itself against COVID-19, putting those who are vaccinated at risk. In fact, this stage of the coronavirus evolution is being called, as we all know, “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
No one knows exactly what is missing in the consciousness of the Parliamentarian, or the U.S. political class—both Republicans and Democrats—or of the most recalcitrant racists in the nation, in order to realize that undocumented immigrants are already totally integrated in the social, economic, fiscal, educational, cultural, and working dynamic (et cetera, et cetera), and that not regularizing their status is an attack on the same U.S. society that, according to every poll, is in favor of immigration reform.
Because if it’s about sacrifice, the millions of undocumented immigrants who have spent decades living and working here know perfectly well what it means and feels like to sacrifice everything. With their presence and contributions, in fact, they themselves are teaching a lesson in modern history to the rest of the population, especially in moments when, despite their rejection, they are ready to contribute their experience and knowledge to the development of a very 21st century country—in every way but its immigration system.
Therefore, it’s certain that undocumented immigrants will continue to pass the social commitment test, combatting Omicron and any other virus, while their migration future is hanging in the balance.
To read the Spanish-language version of this article click here.